Updated: Apr 17
United Nations, ‘Why 2022 will matter for climate action’ https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/why-2022-will-matter-climate-action-0
The Return of Extinction Rebellion!
As declared on the Extinction Rebellion (XR) official website, “The Next UK Rebellion will begin at 10:00 am Saturday 9 April in Hyde Park London!”[i] In 2022 XR’s ‘Strategy’ will be divided into four sections: Story, Growth, Action and Strength.[ii] In 2019, the organisation dominated headlines following protests which brought central London to a standstill. Who can forget the iconic image of an enormous pink boat occupying Piccadilly Circus? Just recently, three protesters were acquitted by a jury after climbing atop, and gluing themselves to, train carriages during the 2019 mass protests. The unseemly group of defendants comprised of a priest, a reverend and a retired university lecturer.[iii] It is fair to say that XR’s demographic is even more far-reaching than it’s given credit for…thousands attended, and dozens were arrested in April 2019, yet XR has described what they have done so far as “an experiment”. According to XR, “This year, shit gets real.”[iv]
Extinction Rebellion’s goals:
Grow the movement – towards 3.5% of the population, understanding the need for a spectrum of resistance.
Support a minimum of 3000 people in non-violent civil resistance in April
Tell a new story about ourselves and the reasons for our work
Demand the end of fossil fuels. Harm is being done NOW.
Support all rebels throughout the year
Build new routes to change: focussing on cultural influence and defections[v]
It is uncertain how the return of this divisive organisation’s rebellion will be met. Critics of XR’s approach insist that the group will have to change its image in order to gain intergenerational and interpolitical support. For some, spraying fake blood around Westminster and the waving of skull imagery on flags, are “off-putting”. Others see the violent imagery and large-scale civil disobedience as proportionate, considering the dire circumstances we find ourselves in. It seems that XR has recognised the way their actions are perceived by the public, this year’s agenda promises and reinforces the importance of “accountability and non-violence”. Regardless of polarised public opinion, XR’s return will not go unnoticed.
5th UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC5)
LDC5, which was due to take place in Doha from the 23rd to the 27thof January has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID concerns. When the conference takes place (whenever that may be), the leaders of the least developed countries of the world will meet to put together plan to collectively reduce emissions. The LDC5 is significant as talks won’t be dominated by the political superpowers such the US, the UK, China and Russia, but instead focus on the countries gathered. These countries, despite emitting significantly less than most high-income countries, are amongst those who are suffering the most due to climate change. The LDC5 will highlight the difficulties of tackling climate change with less resources and a more limited infrastructure.
For a more comprehensive list of UN climate action events in 2022, visit: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/why-2022-will-matter-climate-action-0
After the pitfalls and overall lack of urgency seen in COP26, COP27 will need to deliver serious change. The 27th Conference of the Parties will take place from the 7-18th of November in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt. Sharm El-Sheik is well known as a tourist hotspot as it is situated on the picturesque Red Sea (over 300 miles from the perpetual smog of Cairo…).
With 8 months to go until the nex conference, controversy is already brewing. Egypt has opted to elect foreign minister Sameh Shoukry to lead the talks. Many expected the position to be given to Yasmine Fouad, an accomplished climate scientist and lead author of the IPCC report on desertification.[vi] Nonetheless, the position will be given to Shoukry who lacks experience and has shown little interest in the issue of climate change; Fouad will undertake the role of “ministerial coordinator and envoy”. The snubbing of Yasmine Fouad further exemplifies the global lack of female representation in climate change discussions.
[i] Extinction Rebellion, ‘XR UK Strategy 2022’ Extinction Rebellion (23 January 2022) <https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2022/01/23/xr-uk-strategy-2022/> 2 February 2022 [ii] ibid [iii] Taylor, M, ‘Extinction Rebellion activists cleared over London rush hour disruption’ The Guardian (14 January 2022) <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/14/extinction-rebellion-activists-cleared-london-rush-hour-2019> 2 February 2022 [iv] Extinction Rebellion, ‘XR UK Strategy 2022’ Extinction Rebellion (23 January 2022) <https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2022/01/23/xr-uk-strategy-2022/> 2 February 2022 [v] Extinction Rebellion, ‘XR UK Strategy 2022’ Extinction Rebellion (23 January 2022) <https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2022/01/23/xr-uk-strategy-2022/> 2 February 2022 [vi] Lo, J, ‘Egypt names foreign minister Sameh Shoukry to lead Cop27 climate talks’, Climate Home News (17 January 2022)< https://www.climatechangenews.com/2022/01/17/egypt-names-foreign-minister-sameh-shoukry-lead-cop27-climate-talks/ > 2 February 2022